06/30/09 — ENC Babe Ruth tournament rolls on

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ENC Babe Ruth tournament rolls on

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 30, 2009 1:46 PM

GRANTHAM -- Two Wayne County All-Star teams moved within one victory of clinching state-tournament berths Monday evening at the Grantham Athletic Complex.

Noah Daniels drove in the game-winning run as Wayne County squeaked past Greene County 10-9 in their 10-Under contest. Wayne County, directed by 16-year-old head coach Zach Daniels, earned a day of rest and plays for the Eastern N.C. District 4 Babe Ruth championship on Wednesday.

"It was pretty tight," said Daniels. "We got a little nervous, but we pulled through at the end. I thought our guys did well."

Jacob Holmes pounded out two doubles and emerged one of four Wayne North batters to collect four hits in a 19-12 conquest of Wayne South in their 8U Rookie battle. Wayne North clinched a berth in tonight's district championship against either South or Wilson County. Game time is 8 p.m.

The playoff road ended for Wayne County's 11U squad.

Wilson County right-hander Gregory Lamm tossed a no-hitter for four-plus innings in a 5-2 victory. The Bulldogs claimed the best-of-three series 2-0 and will represent District 4 in the state tournament at Holly Springs.

"I am proud of the boys because they didn't quit," said Wayne County coach Jeff Smith. "They came out here and played their hearts out for six innings. If we had played better last night (Sunday), you never know what could have happened."

Despite collecting just three hits, Wayne County cruised to a five-run advantage on the 10U scene against Greene County. Daniels' team benefited from six walks and two timely RBI singles from brothers Zach and Sam Mott.

Greene County answered in the fourth inning. Alex Suggs' three-RBI single down the right-field line spearheaded a six-run uprising which led to a 7-6 lead.

"That was a pretty tough inning," said Daniels.

Zach Mott provided a two-out RBI single and Devonte Corum recorded a bases-loaded RBI when he was hit by a pitch. An infield error led to another Wayne County run and a 9-7 advantage.

Greene County tied the game at 9-9 during the fifth inning before Zach Daniels secured the victory with a one-out, RBI single in Wayne County's turn at the plate. Daniels was one of six Wayne County starters to record at least one hit in the game.

Coach Daniels praised his team for keeping its poise and right-hander Trey Jordan, who retired seven of the final 11 batters he faced. He scattered seven hits and logged seven strikeouts in the scorebook.

"That was big for them to come back with the bats (in the fourth) and they hit the ball well after that," said Daniels. "Trey did a great job for the team and got a lot of strikeouts."

Missed scoring opportunities haunted Wayne County's 11U team. Smith's club stranded five runners, including four in scoring position, during the first four innings. Lamm threw inning-ending strikeouts in the first, second and fourth innings.

Dogs first baseman Jake Jones corralled three consecutive pop-ups in foul territory to retire Wayne County in the third inning.

"(Lamm) was throwing on the outside corner of the plate and that's something we haven't seen this year," said Smith. "We're used to backing off the plate, stepping into the pitch and driving it somewhere. We finally adjusted in the fifth inning."

Trailing 4-0, Trent Herndon spoiled Lamm's no-hit bid with a fifth-inning, RBI single to left field. Lamm walked the next batter and was relieved by Jones, who permitted an RBI single to Tanner Rose.

Jones retired the next two batters and encountered little trouble in the sixth inning to record the save.

"These kids have been together just two weeks and I thought they did a great job," said an upbeat Smith. "We just couldn't put the ball in play (early)."